With their sensationally sweet flavour, wonderfully creamy texture and brilliant versatility, it’s really no wonder that sweet potatoes have become the foodie’s latest cooking staple. Even better, the tuber actually packs quite the nutritional punch, and if you’re a sweet tooth by nature, sweet potatoes are also a great food to satisfy your sugar cravings (due to their higher levels of natural sugar).
According to the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand, just one 150 g serve of sweet potato has 112 per cent of an adult’s recommended dietary intake, helping to boost your immune system and absorb more iron from your meats. If you think that’s impressive, that same serving of sweet potato also contains 249 per cent of an adult’s daily intake of vitamin A.
Proving they’re a win-win all round, it comes as no surprise that the health benefits of sweet potatoes are plentiful. From relieving stress to promoting healthy skin, here are six most surprising benefits of eating sweet potato:
It’s no secret that frequent hair dyeing, stress and over-washing can seriously affect hair growth, and hair texture. If you’re on the hunt for a more natural way to unlocking healthy hair, sweet potato might just be the answer.
Why? It’s due to sweet potatoes high levels of vitamin A, which helps cell growth in hair follicles. But before you go eating the vegetable for breakfast, lunch and dinner, note that too much vitamin A can put hair follicles into overdrive, which can actually cause hair loss.
A youthful glow: everybody wants it, and while lotions and serums can help you keep your skin looking fresh, you can’t overlook the importance of a nutrient rich diet. Enter: the sweet potato. You already know the vegetable is great for your digestive system, but did you know that 150 grams of baked sweet potato contains 100 per cent of you daily intake of vitamin A and C?
That’s right, eating sweet potato on a regular basis can help support healthy skin. Containing plenty of vitamin A, eating sweet potato regularly can assist in stimulating the collagen in your skin, a vital protein that keeps skin looking young and fresh. Not to mention, the high levels of vitamin C in sweet potato is also great for sufferers of hyperpigmentation, as it helps to stimulate melanin production.
From working full time to caring for kids and running a household, trying to balance a fully loaded schedule often results in some sort of stress. While slowing down your lifestyle can be an effective solution to the problem, a more nutrient-rich diet can also help big breakouts of stress.
Incorporating more sweet potatoes in your diet can be a great way to combat stress and this is due to the fact that the vegetable is magnesium-rich. An essential mineral for normal body functioning, magnesium can help reduce body wide inflammation and also helps to level out the body’s stress response system. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of niacin or vitamin B3, which assists in stabilising energy levels and reducing tiredness and fatigue.
There’s no denying that ‘gut health‘ has been a hot topic in the health world over the past few years. While kimchi and probiotic yoghurt have been named great foods to help with maintaining a healthy digestion, the humble sweet potato should not be overlooked.
Packed with high levels of dietary fibre, incorporating sweet potato into your daily meals can be a great way to up your daily fibre intake and get your digestive health back on track. Try using sweet potato as an alternative to bread when making toast, it’s a quick and easy change that will do wonders for your body, and it tastes great too. Having a healthy dose of fibre intake daily is also key to maintaining a slim body – another great bonus!
If you thought bananas were the best natural source of potassium, think again. Sweet potatoes provides twice the amount of potassium as a banana, that’s 950 milligrams per serving!
But what is the importance of potassium exactly? Well, it helps to sweep excess sodium and fluid out of the body, which lowers blood pressure and reduces strain on the heart. Not forgetting that it helps to regulate heart rhythm and also contributes to maintaining healthy nerve function. So, if you’re looking for a way to shake up your diet and make your food choices more heart friendly, try subbing out your carby side serving at dinner for a portion of roasted sweet potato.
Unlike common kitchen staples such as rice, bread and corn, sweet potato has a relatively low carbohydrate content. Coming in at around 26 g per 150 g baked serve, it will keep you fuller for longer, and help you curb your desire to snack throughout the day.
So whether you’re turning your sweet potatoes into a kumara hummus, adding it to a vegetarian eggplant curry or are just baking them whole, this incredible root veg definitely deserves a place in your diet.
Continue reading for delish sweet potato recipes that are super easy to make:
This supremely comforting soup that’s packed with superfoods is great for when you’re feeling a little under the weather, or just want something light but filling.
While the recipe traditionally calls for pumpkin, you can simply swap pumpkin for sweet potato and add cooked eggplant, before topping it off with avocado.
Skip the lunch queues and tuck into this simple poke bowl that’s so easy to assemble! Filled with garlic beef pieces, tender sweet potato slices and blue corn chips for added crunch, you can whip this up the night before, easy.
Here’s one that kids will love too — healthy and delicious fish and chips! Except the “chips” comprise of sweet potato and cauliflower for a healthy twist, instead of the usual potato.
Love baking? Instead of the usual carrot or vanilla cake, why not try using sweet potato in your next bake? It’s sure to be a unique treat that will impress your loved ones. Great for birthday parties, Mothers’ Day, even Christmas!
This potluck-perfect pie recipe is sure to be a hit with guests! Featuring a golden cheese sauce gratin topping with an assortment of healthy vegetables including sweet potato, cauliflower and zucchini.
Who says veggie bowls have to be boring? This refreshing dish is a perfect entryway into the popular Mediterranean diet, featuring juicy lamb leg steaks and yummy sweet potato chips.
Text: Now To Love / Additional reporting: Elizabeth Liew